FAIRFIELD — He had to stop and start a few times as he tried to get out his last radio transmission, with dozens of family members, friends, and co-workers gathered on the front steps of police headquarters on Friday.

It was Gary MacNamara’s last day as police chief, last day as a member of the Fairfield Police Department. Finally, he got his message out — the only thing he was going to remember about his 30-year career was the people.

With that, the color guard stepped into place, the bagpiper started playing and everyone began the quick march from headquarters to the Fairfield Theatre Co., where MacNamara’s retirement party was being held. Police motorcycles led the way, and those on the sidewalks clapped and cheered the little parade. At the end of Sanford Street, was a fire engine, a large American flag and a row of firefighters standing at attention.

Inside FTC’s The Warehouse, MacNamara found himself a target of jabs from politicians and fellow police chiefs about his love for television cameras. His children, daughters Bailey and Cassidy, and son Alex, himself a Fairfield police rookie, offered their own memories of their father’s career.

“He’s not my boss anymore, but he’s still my dad,” Alex MacNamara said. “Thank you for the example you set.”

Bailey MacNamara recalled when she and Cassidy sang the National Anthem at the ceremony when their father was elevated to chief. “It was awful then, and it would be awful now,” she said. The police department, she said, has always been a part of their lives, with memories of riding in the back of police cars, and dad having to leave events early when an emergency came up.

Cassidy MacNamara recalled seeing her father walking in red high heels, part of a walk against domestic violence. “I always thought he had weak ankles,” she said.

As for the guest of honor himself, MacNamara said he can still recall the 22-year-old who couldn’t want to be a police officer. “I wouldn’t eat with some of the officers because they ate too slow,” MacNamara said. “I just wanted to do police work.”

Though MacNamara is at ease in front of the cameras, Friday was a bit different. “I’m really never at a loss for words, and now I am completely at a loss for words ... It breaks my heart that I’m leaving.”

greilly@ctpost.com; 203-842-2585